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Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse

Article about: Hi, have been meaning to show this for a while. Picked it up at the beginning of 2016. It's my third Home Guard BD blouse, it's a rank I don't have, has a clear label with date etc (somethin

  1. #1
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    Default Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse

    Hi, picked this up at the beginning of 2016 and have been meaning to show it for a while.

    It's my third Home Guard BD blouse, in a rank I don't have, and has a clear label with date etc (something I always look for) and the Proficiency badge is not something you see very often!

    I added a WW1 ribbon bar, just a pin on type. If there had been a pin-on bar there in the past I don't think there would be any way of knowing.

    ...
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Last edited by PaulW; 01-04-2017 at 04:50 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default 2

    Some further pictures on a 'Webster' torso/ half mannequin I bought on E-Bay.com (USA E-Bay) not so long ago with the added ribbon bar, as well a 1940 dated field-service cap with the appropriate cap-badge (Royal Berkshire), and a 1903 pattern leather belt, also 1940 dated.

    The Proficiency badge was first considered in December 1940, and was apparently inspired by a similar badge used by Volunteers in the 1880's. However, according to research by Jon Mills and Terry Carney in their (superb) book "The Insignia and Uniforms of the LDV and the Home Guard 1940-1944" (2008), it did not begin appearing on uniforms until November 1941, due to the fact that courses had to be set up, and completed before any issues could take place. With cost in mind, the badge was no more than a 1" square piece of red wool badge cloth cut from a roll and placed 5" up from the bottom of the right sleeve.

    In May 1944 the Proficiency badge was swapped to the left arm to make way for the newly authorized length of service stripes, but according to Mills and Carney, this ruling 'was not always followed in practice'. The fact that this blouse has the badge on the right arm means that either the soldier ignored the order, or had left the Home Guard by May 1944. The absence of length of service stripes might also suggest this? Of course, this was quite common, with many (younger) Home Guard's leaving to join the regular armed forces, and other's leaving 'protected' professions and being called up, or becoming too old or ill to serve any longer. Luckily for modern collectors the Home Guard were able to keep their old uniforms.

    Links to my other blouses:-

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 4th E.Lancs Staff Sgt's BD blouse

    Home Guard Captain's jacket review

    ...
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Last edited by PaulW; 01-04-2017 at 06:53 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default 3

    The (added) ribbon bar of course shows the three commonly awarded WW1 medal ribbons (1914 Star, War Medal, Victory Medal). The 1914 Star ribbon also has a silver rosette to represent the clasp awarded to those soldiers who had served under enemy fire between 5th August and 22nd November 1914. A Home Guard in 1942 who had served in 1914 might typically be in his mid-forties. They could serve up to the age of 65, but there were cases of soldiers exceeding this age!

    Also, a closer shot of the 1903 pattern belt, as worn by many (but not exclusively) enlisted Home Guard. The belt is marked "R Ling & Son 1940".

    The epaulette buttons are the usual type, the hidden buttons are not the more usual brass type, but a tin-type. They are originally applied, probably just a manufacturer variation, and are all marked "H. A & S (1922) B.Ham", i.e a Birmingham manufacturer. The blouse maker was based in East London at the time, but Birmingham was of course a hub for button manufacturers.

    ...
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

  4. #4
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    Default Cap

    Some cap details.

    There is no hole for the cap badge, but this is fairly typical for Home Guard caps, they often simply looped the badge over the 'peak'.

    Also, the General service buttons on the cap, and the maker mark and date.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  


  5. #5
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    Regarding the ribbon bar placement, in original wartime pictures they seem to be placed either centralized over the pocket, or they have the inner edge aligned with the inner edge of the pocket. You can see examples of this in the pictures below.

    In the top picture, it's fairly clear on the uniform of the man (wearing glasses) standing in the middle row, second from right.

    In the lower picture, note the 'Old Boy' in the back row where this is particularly obvious, and possibly the man at the far left too.

    Also, a picture of the Jon Mills and Terry Carney book "The Insignia and Uniforms of the LDV and the Home Guard 1940-1944" (2008) mentioned above.

    Lastly, a picture (though I don't own it) of a qualification certificate for the Proficiency badge. This example was issued to Corporal Waite of "A Company" of the 49th Lancs (Lancashire) battalion of the Home Guard. It shows that he began acquiring skills to qualify for the badge in February 1944, and finally qualified in July 1944. The skills listed on the certificate are:-

    1) General knowledge
    2) Rifle
    3) 36 M grenade
    4a) Other weapons (in this case the Sten sub-machine gun)
    4b) Signalling
    5) Battlecraft (and other skills for specialist units)
    6a) Map reading
    6b) Field works
    6c) First Aid

    Think that's it. Hope you like it as much as me!

    Regards, Paul
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  


  6. #6

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    Nice items and very informative post. Thank you.

    Here is a link to my Norfolk HG Blouse: British 1937 Pattern BD Blouse, Norfolk Home Guard

    Regards


    Martin

  7. #7
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    Hi Martin,
    many thanks! I didn't see your blouse when you posted it. Nice example, and great that you have an example from your local area - probably something every Home Guard collector would like!

    Regards, Paul

  8. #8
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    Hi, a little follow up to this. About a year after I bought this blouse I went back to the original seller and found out that he had a Proficiency badge Unit training record for the owner of this jacket (L/Cpl C N Polity) - making this a named uniform now! He had mean't to list them together originally. It only cost £12, the best £12 I've spent for a long time in this hobby. Even my wife agreed it was money well spent - that might be a first!

    The back of the record. I can't be sure but it may be signed by the Platoon commander, possibly "Charles Sall" and underneath that, " T Lo. 1 Platoon" (temporary Lieutenant, 1st Platoon ?). Sall is a surname that can be found in England according to Ancestry.co.uk.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

  9. #9
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    The record was printed about 11 miles away from the unit's base (Crowthorne in Berkshire), in a town called Aldershot ('home of the British Army' as some call that town...). I found a picture of the printers, taken before the company closed in 1981, and the building was subsequently demolished.

    It also came with an "Action Stations" printed order which gives the meeting point for the unit in the event of an invasion etc.

    I think these notes may date from 1940, when the threat was considered real (whatever we know now with hindsight) to the people of the time. However, in early 1944 the Home Guard again believed that the German's might land saboteurs to interfere with the invasion build up prior to D-Day, so it would be hard to date it.

    On watermarked paper (King's Crown with S to the left, and O to the right - possibly for "Stationery Office" ?), it's faded but you can just make out what it reads:-

    "L/Corpl Polity,

    On receipt of Action Stations you will at once report to

    Platoon H.Q at Queen’s Oak

    You must bring with you full equipment, bicycle, soap, towel, shaving kit, spare pair of socks, etc, knife, fork, spoon, plate and mug."


    As for the Platoon rendezvous point there is only one "Queen's Oak" public house in the UK, it's still in business today, and it's about 3 miles away from their unit base area - Bingo!

    www.queensoak.co.uk - Web site hosted by Freeola.com

    If I am ever passing, I might have to sample their wares, just as L/Cpl Polity and his fellow Home Guard's most probably did 70 plus years ago. Great Platoon HQ!

    Another note:- The reference to the word "China" in the Regimental badge is usually portrayed as a Dragon only on the cap badge, but is occasionally seen on Regimental literature. It refers to the unit's forebears involvement in the 'Opium Wars' of the Nineteenth century, things we don't like to talk about these days...
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse   Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

    Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

  10. #10
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    Default

    According to this website:-

    Arborfield Local History Society - Memories WWII Home Guard and ROC

    Company E was also known as the "Winnersh and Arborfield Company" after the towns where the men were based, and there is a picture of them (I believe mis-named as a Platoon on the caption, probably the Company as there are 98 men present, not including the Reverend). Several have been identified, sadly not L/Cpl Polity, but it is possible that he is one of the soldiers in the picture!

    The uniforms and insignia rule out 1940 and probably 1941. I would guess it might be a 1944 "Stand Down" photograph which many units took before they stood down in December 1944.

    Regards, Paul
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Home Guard '37 Patt' 11th Berkshire (Crowthorne Battalion) BD blouse  

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